Privacy has become something of a hot topic over the last few years. With governments keen to keep as tight a grip as possible on all communications in the name of safety, and various companies and pressure groups pushing in the opposite direction for the same reason, a heated debate has surrounded the issue.
That has especially been the case in the UK, where the recently elected Conservative government has been attempting to push forward the so-called “Snooper’s charter” that was previously aborted while in coalition. With a slim majority, the issue has once again arisen, and an argument over the encryption of user data has begun again.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, one of Microsoft’s top lawyers, Brad Smith, has opted to weigh in on the matter, laying out Microsoft’s view of the situation. He has stated that, while the firm would not be best pleased, should changes to user data encryption be required by the UK government, then Redmond would most likely comply.
This is potentially something of a sticky situation for Microsoft. While the firm has a commitment, both in the public eye and in the business environment, to be seen protecting the data that customers choose to entrust it with, it must balance this with its other commitments. Against a hostile government, it is very difficult to do business, and the UK is a major market for Microsoft.
The possibility remains that the software giant may choose to resist such attempts, yet its success in doing so would hardly be guaranteed, and may be deemed too risky a strategy.
How the situation will progress is something that is yet to be seen, yet with the UK government having already displayed an intense commitment to pushing the reach of its intelligence services ever further, it will be interesting to see how things progress.
How do you think Microsoft should progress? Let us know in the comments belowFurther reading: Microsoft, UK Government